In a league of their own: Top 10 run-getters in Tests
In the age of T10s, T20Is and ODIs, Test cricket has become obsolete despite the fact that many players still desire to play the longest format of the game. In fact, only three Tests have been played in the last six years, all between Australia and England as part of the multi-format Women’s Ashes series.
Women’s CricZone takes a look at the top 10 run-getters in Test cricket.
1. Janette Brittin (England)
With 1935 runs in 27 Test matches, Janette Brittin holds the top spot in the list of run-getters in red-ball cricket. Making her debut for England against West Indies in 1979, Brittin went onto make five centuries in her 19-year international career with a best of 144 not out against New Zealand in 1984. A right-arm off-break bowler Brittin has also taken nine wickets.
She represented Surrey at the domestic level, and was also a multi-sport athlete who took part in track & field events, indoor hockey and indoor cricket. Interestingly, it was Brittin’s athleticism on the cricket field that prompted the dress code change from skirts to trousers. “One of the reasons they changed from playing in skirts to trousers was JB’s diving stops!” her one-time teammate Enid Bakewell said.
2. Charlotte Edwards (England)
Charlotte Edwards is the most successful captain England have ever produced. One of the youngest debutantes during her time, Edwards has led England to three Ashes series wins (2008, 2013 and 2014) and also a double in 2009 when they pocketed the inaugural T20 World Cup and 50-over World Cup.
The right-hand batter, who made her debut in a strong England side that had her idol Brittin, played 23 Test matches and scored a total of 1676 runs including four centuries. Although her maiden ton came in 1999 – a 108 in a drawn encounter against India in Shenley, Edwards scored her first ton as a skipper in 2006 – also against India in Taunton. “This was quite a big moment for me. I had taken over from Clare Connor as captain and I didn’t have a great run at the start of my captaincy, so this was a turning point,” Edwards was quoted as saying to Wisden after the game.
3. Rachael Heyhoe-Flint (England)
With 1594 runs from 22 Test matches and at an average of 45.54, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint stands third in the list of run getters in Test. It was Heyhoe-Flint, who hit the first six in women’s Test cricket against Australia in 1963 – a favourite stroke, which she famously described as ‘a hoick to leg’, also fondly known as the Heyhoe Heave-Ho. She will be best known for her gutsy innings of 179 at The Oval in 1976 against Australia when she batted tirelessly for eight and a half hours across the third and fourth days of the last Test, saving England from sure defeat in the final game and the series. Another interesting fact about Heyhoe-Flint is that England never lost a Test series under her captaincy between 1966 and 1978.
In ODIs, she led England to victory in the first-ever Women’s World Cup in 1973.
4. Debbie Hockley (New Zealand)
Debbie Hockley had an impressive Test career for New Zealand scoring 1301 runs in 19 matches at an average of 52.04 which included four centuries. Having idolised the likes of Janette Brittin and Martin Crowe through the early part of her career, Hockley made her Test debut at the age of 17 and went on to captain the side in six Test matches drawing all of them.
A middle-order batter, Hockley’s most memorable innings will be the 126 not out that she made in the first innings against a touring Australian side in 1990. While the visitors piled up 371 in the first innings, Hockley single-handedly took New Zealand to 229 all out with eight of their batters out for single digits. In November 2016, she became the first woman to be elected president of New Zealand Cricket.
5. Carole Hodges (England)
One of the greats of the game, Carole Hodges played for England in 18 Test matches scoring 1164 runs. She was equally good with her bowling picking up 23 wickets with a career-best of 4 for 21. One of the interesting facts about Hodges is that she scored two centuries in her career and has remained unbeaten on both occasions. Her innings of 158 not out against New Zealand remains her career-best, while the second – 121 not out – came against India in 1986.
Hodges was a medium-pace bowler initially who could also bat but later on switched to spin as there were plenty of seamers around.
6. Sandhya Agarwal (India)
Holder of an honorary life membership at the Marylebone Cricket Club, Sandhya Agarwal is the highest run-getter for India in Tests with 1110 runs in her kitty and ranks fifth in this list. Hailing from Indore, Agarwal played in 13 Tests for India between 1984 and 1995. A former captain too, the right-hander hit the headlines when she scored 190 against England surpassing Betty Snowball’s score of 189 – a record that stood since 1935. Interestingly, in the previous against England, Agarwal batted for six hours and 27 minutes to strike 132. Both the Tests ended in a draw.
Post-retirement, Agarwal continued her association with the game as a as a selector and coach.
7. Enid Bakewell (England)
It would be foolish to describe Enid Bakewell in words. She belonged to a league of her own and is considered one of England’s all-time greats. 1078 runs and 50 wickets in only 12 Tests matches is testimony to that. Bakewell started her international journey with a beautiful 113 against Australia before going on to add several feats to her name. One of England’s best allrounders, Bakewell scored a fifty in both innings of a Test four times, a century and 50 in the same Test twice and is one of only two players to have scored back-to-back Test centuries – Janette Brittin is the other. In 1979 against West Indies, Bakewell became the first English player, male or female, to score a ton and take 10 wickets in the same Test, which was also her last appearance.
8. Claire Taylor (England)
Sent as low as No.6 or 7 in the batting order, Claire Taylor struggled to find her feet initially in her Test career. But once she was shifted to No.4, the right-hander came out all guns blazing with a majestic 137 against Australia in 2001. A solid batter, Taylor represented England in 15 Test matches and has 1030 runs to her name. Besides, cricket, Taylor has also represented England’s hockey team at U-17 and U-19 levels. Taylor was the first woman to be named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2009.
9. Myrtle Maclagan (England)
Known as one of the best cricketers of her time, Myrtle Maclagan was a pioneer for England and was one of the players who participated in the the first women’s Test that was played between England and Australia in 1934. Born in India, the opener scored a fluent 72 on debut and took 7 for 10 in the same match. In the second match, Maclagan made 119 – the first hundred in a women’s Test. In the same match, she achieved another feat becoming the first woman cricketer to open the batting as well as the bowling in the same match. She played 14 Tests scoring 1007 runs.
10. Karen Rolton (Australia)
A left-hander in batting style and a former skipper, Karen Rolton is the highest run-getter for Australia in Tests with 1002 runs from 14 games. In a career spanning over a decade, Rolton has played a major role in Australia’s success over the years and was known for her fluent and quick scoring ability. Rolton’s highest of 209 not out against England at Headingly in 2001 broke the (then) record for highest individual score. She is one of the four Australians to have scored a double century in Tests. She was also named the ICC’s inaugural female player of the year in 2006 and was Australia’s women’s player of the year a record four times, in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.
You can read more lists here.